How to Elope in
Washington State

Overland Elopements

Washington is our top suggestion for adventurous, outdoorsy couples looking for somewhere scenic to elope. With diverse landscapes all within a relatively short distance, there are experiences that just can’t be replicated anywhere else. You can explore alpine meadows, green rainforests, glacier lakes, snowcapped mountains and rocky coastlines. The summers are something out a storybook, yet every season has it’s own unique charm. Washington is unquestionably one of the most beautiful states in the country, and the perfect place to begin the next chapter of your adventure together. So where to begin? We’ve put this comprehensive guide together to help walk you through everything you’ll need to start planning the most epic Washington elopement day ever. Let’s get started!

We’re so glad you’ve chosen Washington for your elopement! 

First thing’s first….it’s time to choose your elopement date! 
Washington has an amazingly diverse landscape, and each environment has it’s optimal season for getting the most out of your adventure. It may be helpful to sit down and picture what type of landscape you imagine yourselves in. 




 

Let’s dive into what each season has to offer in Washington State!
 

Step One: Choose your date

Fall

While brief, Fall in Washington is a stunner with crisp blue skies and vibrant foliage. Time your elopement right, and you can experience the beauty of the red berry bushes and yellow larches while still enjoying great sunny weather. The North Cascades and Mount Baker area is a stunner in the Fall, and the coast is still going to be gorgeous as well. 

We strongly believe that summertime in Washington is the most magical. From July through September, every epic location you can think of should be accesible. In July & August, the high-elevation trails will have thawed out, and the wildflowers will be in full bloom. This is when you’ll experience the most sunshine. In places like Mt. Rainier, where the mountain influences it’s own weather patterns, this is the best chance of having an unobstructed view! This will be your best shot at beautiful weather, just keep in mind that this is the busiest time of year in the parks.

Summer

Spring

Springtime weather in Washington can be unpredictable. Come prepared for snow or rain, but stick to the coast for your best chance at mild weather! Olympic National Park would be a great coastal option April through June. Spring is a wonderful time to visit to avoid the crowds.

Winter

While Washington can be relatively mild in the winter, areas with high elevation can see large amounts of snowfall. Seasonal road closures are standard in high-elevation destinations. Many popular locations are still accesible though if a wintery snowshoe adventure is calling your name. Charming towns like the Bavarian-style wonderland of Leavenworth feel extra magical during this time of year. Winter is a great time to elope in Washington state if you value privacy and want to avoid the crowds.

Step Two: Choose your Location

Washington has no shortage of epic locations, and your photographer will be able to help you narrow down your list to find the perfect spot. Here are some of our top picks.

Mountains

Mount Rainier National Park

We’re partial to the Sunrise area during the summer months, which is the highest elevation point that can be reached by car in the park. This is naturally the spot to watch the sun rise over the mountain, yet the views in every direction are stunning at any time of day. Paradise is know for its alpine meadows full of wildflowers. Because the Nisqually entrance remains open throughout the winter, you can also snowshoe in this part of the park weather permitting!

Coastal

Olympic Peninsula

Not only is the weather on the Olympic Peninsula extraordinarily mild, but we find it to be one of the most diverse National Parks in Washington. Olympic National Park is host to rocky beaches, lush rainforests, and beautiful mountain views. The beaches are popular spot for elopements due to the dreamy moodiness and large rock formations. Olympic National Park's greatest views are also very accessible if a shorter hike is your preference. We love timing our visits with low tide so we can explore the tide pools and visit otherwise inaccessible spots while we’re there.


Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is actually part of Olympic National Park, but we couldn't proceed without mentioning it specifically. As the name suggests, it's quite wet during the rainy months, but the weather is mild year-round. The jungle-like atmosphere will make you feel as if you've stumbled onto another planet. Lush ferns, old growth trees and thick mosses are on full display on every trail.

Step three: Book Your Vendors

Once you’ve got an idea for where and when, it’s time to secure your vendors!

Photographers

Officiant

Florist

Most specialized elopement photographers assist with planning, so we suggest booking your photographer team first. They should be able to walk you through everything you may need to know about eloping in your chosen location. Your photographer can help you find the best spot to hold your ceremony, offer vendor suggestions, and help you build the timeline of your adventure.

To get married in Washington state, you’ll need an officiant. Some actually specialize in elopements, or you can have a family or friend get ordained and come along. (You’ll also need two witnesses. You can have passerby, your photographers, or guests act as witnesses.)

If having floral arrangements made, be sure to find a florist who uses native plants and have them construct a hearty bouquet that will hold up throughout the day.

Now is also the time to book any other vendors you’d like. We put together a list below of a few talented vendors that we absolutely adore. Check them out!

Our Top Washington Elopement Vendor Recommendations

Officiant

Videographer

Elopement Planner / Stylist

FLorist

Hair and Makeup

Private Chef

Sweets

https://www.instagram.com/officiantjimmie

https://www.happycamperfilms.com

https://thegreatestadventureweddings.com

https://goldenrodfloraldesign.com

https://www.tapestryeventco.com

https://www.seattlewedding-videography.com

https://www.tapestryeventco.com

https://www.seattlechefjoe.com

https://www.downtoearthcuisine.com

https://honeycrumb.com

https://www.pacificbrides.com

Officiant Jimmie

Happy Camper Films

The Greatest Adventure Weddings

Goldenrod Floral Design (Formerly Rusted Vase Co)

Tapestry Event Co.

Emerald Media.

Tapestry Event Co.

Seattle Chef Joe

Down to Earth Cuisine

Honey Crumb Cake Studio

Pacific Brides

Step Four: Get Your Marriage Permit for Your Location

Many locations require a special use permit in order to use the land for a ceremony. Each park or location will have it’s own specific requirements, so it’s best to check with the park office directly for the most up to date rules. 

There is sometimes a long waiting period between applying and actually getting your permit, so be sure to give yourself enough time before your elopement date.

It may feel frustrating having to apply for a permit, but this is all done to protect the land from overuse and also helps guarantee that your chosen location is available and ceremonies are allowed. Your photographer should be able to help you figure out which park office to contact for permit info!

Step five: Pick Your Elopement Activities 

You may be wondering, “What else can we do on our elopement day other than get married?”
The honest answer is - you can do anything! Washington is an adventure lover’s dream, and many couples are drawn here to explore and experience the epic landscapes. There is so much to do in Washington, so here are some ideas for activities you can build into your elopement day. 

- Go for a sunrise or sunset hike together to a fire lookout tower

- Pack in a picnic for after your ceremony 

- Hire a private chef or book a restaurant for an intimate celebration with guests

- Rent an cozy A-frame cabin and make it an extended multi day adventure


- unwind in a hot tub or in front of a campfire



- Visit a winery or brewery for a tasting and tour


- Explore the Seattle waterfront and visit Pike Place Market


- Try your hand at showshoeing in Washington's vast wilderness


You may be wondering, “What else can we do on our elopement day other than get married?”
The honest answer is - you can do anything! Washington is an adventure lover’s dream, and many couples are drawn here to explore and experience the epic landscapes. There is so much to do in Washington, so here are some ideas for activities you can build into your elopement day. 

Step Five: Pick Your Elopement Activities 

Step six: Put Together a Timeline

Once you have a date, a location, and all your key vendors booked…you can begin to piece everything together. 
When putting together a timeline, it’s best to build the day around your ceremony and portrait time. Why? Landscapes look their best at sunrise or sunset, and the most flattering portrait light falls within the first and last two hours of sunlight.

Check out a couple examples by clicking below of how an elopement day can flow! It’s best to build in enough time for you to enjoy each moment without worrying about the next thing coming up. Your day should never feel rushed.

Sunrise Hiking Elopement at Mount Baker

Sunrise Hiking Elopement at Mount Baker

Sunset Olympic National Park Elopement

Sunset Olympic National Park Elopement

Click each timeline below to expand

Step six: Put Together a Timeline

Once you have a date, a location, and all your key vendors booked…you can begin to piece everything together. 
When putting together a timeline, it’s best to build the day around your ceremony and portrait time. Why? Landscapes look their best at sunrise or sunset, and the most flattering portrait light falls within the first and last two hours of sunlight.

Check out a couple examples by clicking below of how an elopement day can flow! It’s best to build in enough time for you to enjoy each moment without worrying about the next thing coming up. Your day should never feel rushed.

Sunset Olympic National Park Elopement

Sunrise Hiking Elopement at Mount Baker

Step Seven: Get Your Marriage License

Acquiring a marriage license in Washington is simple enough, but there is a three day waiting period before you are able to use it. This may matter more if you’re flying in for your elopement and hoping pick that up at the same time. …but you can also apply online. Licenses are valid for 60 days. 

Here is the King County (Seattle) information for up-to-date marriage license requirements.

https://kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/recorders-office/marriage-licensing.aspx

Step Eight: Live It!

Have the best day ever! Everything has led to this day, and all that’s left now is to enjoy every last carefree moment with your partner by your side. No matter where and when you choose to elope in Washington, you're destined to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience together. Time and time again, Washington, and the entire pacific northwest, shows us something new and inspiring. This is why this corner of the world will always be our favorite place to share with our couples. 

Need help planning your Washington Elopement?

Hi! We're Anna and Trevor.

We're big into dim sum, hammocks and road trips

We're a fun, and slightly dorky, couple of elopement photographers, traveling all over the country to help people get married in the most beautiful places.

We thrive with cameras in hand, and nothing resonates with us more than the intimacy & freedom of an elopement. We get that big events and old school traditions aren't for everyone, and that's totally cool! We're all about embracing our uniqueness and throwing tradition out the window.

Get to Know Us

Need help planning your Washington Elopement?

Washington Elopement Packages

We want you to have a gallery of images that reflect the entire day, with photos that feel like you. Our elopement packages span from four hours of coverage to two full days, because we believe every moment of your adventure deserves to be remembered!
All elopement packages include us (the photo team), elopement planning guidance, location scouting and more! We're here for you from start to finish.

Learn More About Our Elopement Packages

Ready to Get Started?

That's awesome! We're so stoked to get rolling.

Contact us »